Since Bucharest is such a large city – and the biggest tourist attraction in Romania – I’ve decided to share with you the best areas to stay in Bucharest.
I believe that the recommendations in this article will be perfect both for those looking to move to Bucharest longer term, but also for those planning to visit for a shorter stay.
If you’re just passing through Bucharest and proximity to the airport is more important than exploring the city itself, I already have you covered with an article on the best Bucharest hotels near the airport. If not, you’ll want to be IN the city!
Finally, before getting to actually check out my recommended places to stay when in Bucharest, I have another important advice for you: choose your location based on what you need to do.
If you visit for a shorter period of time, stay close to the attractions – like those in the Old Town area, for example. If you’re there with work, it’s best to choose an area that’s closer to work.
Bucharest is a very large city and getting from one place to another can take a lot of time, no matter if you have a personal car or choose the public transport (which is usually faster). Read more about the public transport system in Bucharest to get acquainted with it.
My point is that you don’t want to spend your life stuck in traffic or underground! So make your choice based on your goals: all areas in Bucharest will offer entertainment options and restaurants and shops and most of them can be considered extremely safe, so proximity to where you’ll need to go most often should be your main priority.
Best Area to Stay in Bucharest
Now, if you have the freedom of choosing any area you want, here are the best two ones in my opinion.
1. Old Town / Unirii Square
You can rarely go wrong by choosing the central area of any city. In Bucharest’s case, this is definitely the place I would recommend everybody to stay in.
The Old Town is the place where you can find great restaurants and pubs, all sorts of shops and night life as well.
In terms of accommodation options, you’ve got everything from luxury hotels to budget friendly ones and hostels. This is clearly the touristic area of the city and most of the hotels are here.
Click here to check out the best hotels in the area
However, despite the fact that the area is touristy, prices at restaurants, attractions and entertainment places are still low compared to other countries, since this is also the area that many students visit.
If you’re looking to rent, though, you’ll find some of the biggest prices in the city, but you always have to pay extra for living in a premium area!
Here is a map of the area that I consider to be the best to live in or stay in when in Bucharest, via Google Maps:
2. Primaverii neighborhood
Situated near the Herastrau park in a premium location, this is an exclusive area of the city with prices matching its legacy.
There are mostly villas built in the area and chances are you’ll have some of Romania’s richest and most important people as neighbors if you decide to choose the Primaverii neighborhood as your home base.
This is a residential area, though and definitely better suited for those with both a high monthly budget and those looking at longer term stays in the city.
This means that there are very few hotels in the area. I actually believe the Hotel Helvetia is the only and best bet there for shorter term stays.
Here’s the area on the map:
Other good areas in Bucharest
If you want to keep costs under control or you simply want to move away from the hustle and bustle of the central areas, there are a few other places that we can consider good options to live in, especially if we’re talking about more of a long-term stay.
Check them out below:
This is a great area, not far away from the city center but very close to two very important things, in my opinion: public transportation and the huge (and pretty amazing) Tineretului park.
The small neighborhood in the 4th District is becoming more and more popular every day with more and more stores and restaurants opening regularly. A great option!
Click here to find the best hotels in the Tineretului Area
Here is the small neighborhood on a map:
Dristor / Titan
I might be a little bit biased here because most of the time I spent living in Bucharest was in this area.
However, I still consider it a great option as it offers many options in terms of public transportation, there are shopping malls and restaurants within walking distance.
Plus, you only have three metro stations from Dristor to Unirii where the Old Town awaits. And there’s the beautiful Titan Park nearby for some fresh air an enjoying nature – so you have all the options covered here, in my opinion.
Click here to find the best hotels in the area.
And here is a map of the area I consider the best choice for living in Dristor or Titan:
You’re still in a central location here, but not quite in the Old Town. Prices will therefore be slightly lower (but still pretty high).
You’re close to metro stations, parks, tons of restaurants and museums. A beautiful area to live in, although just as crowded as the rest of the city:
All in all, chances are that, no matter where you will live in Bucharest, you will always have supermarkets, shops, bars and restaurants nearby, even though their quality and quantity differs based on the area you chose.
This is why I believe that the central areas are the best for most expats or travelers, but those who want a more authentic “living in Romania” experience have other options as well.
Best hotel to stay in Bucharest
If you’re not looking for a more long-term type of accommodation, where you’ll have to rent a place in order to keep the costs low, you will have to choose one of the best hotels in Bucharest for this.
I have already written an in-depth guide on the best cheap hotels in the city center, but I’m listing a few other options below to cover more areas.
I am only listing 3-star hotels below, since I consider them to deliver great quality for very solid prices. If you want more luxury, Bucharest has 4 and 5 star hotels available, but they’re pretty expensive.
Bucur Accommodation – one of the highest rated hotels in the area, this is an amazing choice if you’re looking for a high quality stay.
Hotel Duke Armeneasca – located a bit away from the city center, but still in a good area, the hotel is appreciated by its guest for its fair pricing and proximity to Theater and University.
Parliament Square – as the name suggests, this one’s close to one of Bucharest largest attractions (literally): The Parliament Building.
However, it’s a bit off the beaten track and you’re not within walking distance to most attractions in the city center (unless you like walking a bit more than the average).
Understanding Bucharest’s districts
Romania’s capital is divided into six different districts, numbered from 1 to 6. However, whoever decided to “create” these districts definitely had some very poor ideas.
I am saying this because all of Bucharest’s districts start from the center of the city and expand towards the outskirts. Therefore, there is not a district that can be considered central – since all of them meet in the center of the city.
This makes it difficult to say that living in district 2 is better than living in district 5, because they all have central areas and areas that are not so good. Therefore, it’s better to look at the neighborhoods instead and use my list above.
Areas it’s beter to stay away from
Although most areas and districts in Bucharest can be considered safe, there are some areas in the city that even Romanians looking for a new home try to stay away from: Ferentari and Rahova.
These neighboring districts have a really bad reputation and it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially since there are so many options available.
In the end, the outskirts of the city can usually be considered areas to stay away from, not necessarily because they are dangerous – since most of them are not – but because of the huge distances to the city center and things of interest.
On the other hand, it’s usually the outskirts of the city where new buildings are being built, offering better options than the small communist apartments you can normally find in the city.
So if you don’t mind commuting and spending a lot of time on the road (be it in a personal car or public transportation), you will have the chance to live in some really nice, recently built homes or apartments.
Now that you know what the best areas in Bucharest are, why not plan your next move by checking out my article on the top things to see and do in the city? There’s a lot more, of course, but ticking these off the list is definitely a must!
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9 thoughts on “Best Areas & Districts to Stay in Bucharest”
Very informative! Thanks a bunch!
Parts of the city are indeed attractive.
(Of course, if Ceausescu hadn’t leveled a good part of
the city for his ego-driven projects, it would have been an even
more attractive city, IMHO.)
Parts, as in many cities, are not.
Still, I’d feel safer there, than in any comparable sized city.
No knifings like in London. (WHAT has happened there???)
No broad daylight shootings like in New York City.
No ATM kidnapping as in Buenos Aires.
Still for Chicken Little Teil, the threat of devastating earthquakes is real.
Are there still many buildings with the warning red circle(?) denoting they’re unsafe.
Are new buildings built to strict seismic codes? Have areas with fault lines or high risks been
mapped so people can make informed choices?
Are the subway lines built with seismic risk assessment and mitigation. I’d hate to be riding
underground when a seismic event occurs. Same as being on a bridge. Chicken Little, indeed, looses
a few feathers worrying about such things.;-)
Well, so much for my mewling.;-)
After the big earthquake in 1977, the rules for building have been changed in the entire country and everything built afterwards is (or at least should be) safe(r) if a big earthquake hits. This is why most people nowadays are looking to buy in buildings built after 1977.
There are still many buildings with the red dot (which means that they are in danger of collapsing if an earthquake hits) but as far as I know, they have started reinforcing them – the process is really slow though. Most of these buildings are, paradoxically, in the center of the city.
That’s a good questions about the metro lines! Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer for that: I will have to get some research done and find out the truth. I would say that they should be build with high seismic codes – I know that in many countries, the subway lines were built as anti-atomic shelters, so hopefully they had something similar in mind in Bucharest, which would mean that they’re better reinforced. However, the metro lines don’t go that deep and that might not be the case. I’ll do some research to find the truth.
Thanks for this very informative site. This is the first one with realy good and clear information. Which area do you recommendet when the office is in the Calea Tipografilor. We want to rent a flat for2-3 years.
Traffic in that area is horrible at peak hours, so your best bet would be to rent something nearby. The Primaverii area would be a nice one to be in (close to the Aviatorilor metro), but not within a walking distance. The French Quarters is also good and close and you could still walk if you don’t mind doing so for ~25 minutes (through the Herastrau park, though, which is really nice). Chances are that a car ride to work and back from work will take just as much if not more.
You won’t be close to the city center, but with the horrible traffic in the city, you want to be as close to work as possible.
I might be having a job I the city center around doberanti.
However I would prefer to not be in the city itself.
If you were to rent in the outskirts , but also wanted least amount of traffic hassle. What would be the best options?
It’s hard to determine via Google maps and how they judge times.
I have a dog and would prefer a quiet neighborhood around some nature.
If I said I didn’t want to use more than around 40 minutes in traffic to get to work. And I didn’t want to drive myself but use public transportation.
Any ideas and feedback are welcome:)
It’s difficult, because at peak hours that area – and everything that is considered outskirts of the city – gets really crowded. Your best bet would be to look North due to the proximity to Dorobanti – Cartierul Francez and Aviatiei would be good choices as you might also have a metro station nearby (which would be the fastest).
Another option would be towards Bucurestii Noi – Pajura, but that’s a bit farther away, though you’d still have metro connections. But do have in mind that if your work hours are traditional, you will have very, very high traffic in the entire area.
Hi, TY for the feedback! Much appreciated.
Renting within the city limits gets expensive – and quickly.
Its not the amount that bothers me – but what you get for that amount.
Initially I was looking around Tunari and Otopeni. Would that even make sense? Traffic wise. The hours I can manipulate in some ways. I could if needed avoid peak hours – as long as peak hours arent the whole day:>
I saw a bus line 135 from Tunari to the city center. And google maps says its around 30-40 minutes. However if that is far from the truth – and it is 2 hours – then that is a different situation.
Any thoughts are welcome?
Otopeni would be the better choice in my opinion, as Tunari forces you to go through Pipera which is extremely crowded (but also a good area with lots of modern buildings).
30-40 minutes to the city center is doable outside peak hours, indeed. In theory, buses should have their own line, which would get you from point A to point B much faster, but the reality is different. Still, with regular traffic, it could be done.
It might be even faster if you take the bus to the Aurel Vlaicu (or even Pipera) metro station and then the metro to the city center – especially useful during the peak hours.